As the winter holiday season approaches, many businesses struggle to keep their employees engaged. Whether it's the competing attractions of holiday parties and outdoor sports or seasonal stress, it's important to take proactive steps to help your team stay focused on work. Remaining productive in December can be crucial to finishing the year on a strong note. Here are some tips to help companies better plan for the holiday season and keep employees producing their best work amidst holiday-related distractions.
Think About Flexible Scheduling Needs In Advance
Schedules are one of the biggest challenges during the holiday season. Businesses need adequate coverage for customer service and production scheduling. Yet employees often want time off, whether it's the holidays to spend with family, accommodating social functions, or getting away for a tropical vacation. Set a clear holiday schedule for the business and communicate it as early as possible, to help employees plan their time outside the office.
It's also smart to set an early deadline for holiday time-off requests, to give managers adequate time to review scheduling needs and try to accommodate requests where possible. While it's not always feasible to make everyone 100 percent happy, communication and adequate lead time can give you a greater chance of having productive and happy employees.
Communicate Expectations and Actively Manage Your Team
Ensure you're communicating performance expectations throughout the holiday season. While core responsibilities often don't change seasonally, explicit reminders can help draw distracted workers' attention back to what they need to be focusing on. If employees are distracted, consider taking a more proactive approach to your management. Ask for daily status updates or set weekly meetings to review project status and progress.
Use deadlines and goals to ensure work expectations are clear and attainable for workers — and easier for management to oversee. Finally, consider having a frank and friendly conversation about how the winter holiday season can bring distractions and why it's important your workforce stays motivated. Inspirational leadership can go a long way in this context.
Consider Making Time to Celebrate
Businesses often find small ways to celebrate the winter holiday season with their teams. The methods vary, from an extra day off to a small gift or cash bonus. Others choose to have a company-catered lunch or an after-hours holiday party. Each company needs to assess what's right for its culture, workforce, and budget. However, acknowledging your team's contributions, thanking everyone for a year of excellent effort, and conveying your excitement about the year ahead can make a real difference.
The end of the year is a busy season for many businesses, and you're asking employees to balance work, family, and other obligations. Keep your team productive this season by proactively addressing performance, working out scheduling details early, and spending a little time acknowledging and celebrating the previous year's achievements. Investing time in these steps can go a long way — both helping to keep productivity up and giving a boost to employee morale.